Trade Liberalization in the South East Europe – Effects and Controversial Issues
Included in the regional cooperation of SEE countries, trade liberalization is considered the most important factor of a sustainable economic growth which should contribute to the mutual trade among SEE countries, growth of the foreign direct investments, further production specialization and export structure change. Countries of the region have accepted liberalization as one of the conditions of the Stabilization and Association Process (SAP), hoping, each of them individually, that in that way they would improve proper position. Creating a free trade area will contribute to a further increase of intra-regional trade flows, but it shouldn't be expected that the relative importance of mutual exchange will prevail the importance which EU has for the SEE countries, except Moldova. Paper is divided into five sections. After the introduction, the trade liberalization process in the SEE region is explained in the second part (section 2). The third section analyses actual intra-regional trade flows and SEE countries trade relations with the EU (section 3). Some controversial issues raised in recent debates on trade liberalization in SEE are also discussed (section 4). The main conclusions are given at the end (section 5).
Key words: Trade liberalization, Regional cooperation, Free trade area, Intra-regional trade, South East Europe, European Union.
JEL: F02, F16, F42.